Chinese for Affirmative Action advocates for CCSF

August 8, 2013 6:34:45 PM PDT
During an ABC7 Listens meeting, ABC7 News found out about a group of community activists who are stepping forward to advocate on behalf of City College. The school has been told its being stripped of its accreditation next summer.

The campus in San Francisco's Chinatown is one of nine City College campuses. It's in the heart of Chinatown and now, that community is stepping forward and adding its voice to scores of others concerned about the fate of the school.

"We are facing a civil rights crisis," Director of the non-profit Chinese for Affirmative Action Vincent Pan said describing the situation. Those are strong words, but with 75 percent of the 85,000 students at City College of San Francisco black, Asian and Latino, the possibility of the school losing its accreditation and closing would have serious consequences.

"I would say without exaggeration City College has been the foundation of my success," graduate David Nguyen told ABC7 News. He has finished his courses and is now headed to San Francisco State but he, like others who gathered for Thursday's news conference, are worried for future of City College.

Not only has it put scores of students on their educational path, Pan says it goes beyond that. "You also have thousands and thousands of immigrant families who depend on City College for that first leg into American society, primarily by learning English," he said.

Last month, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges announced the school's accreditation will be terminated next summer, but officials there are fighting it and have put in a request for review. That process could take months. In the meantime, students are registering for fall classes that begin next week.

So far, there's a drop of about 13 percent in enrollment. Supporters of the college worry that decline could further destabilize the school and now, the Chinese for Affirmative Action is joining other supporters in launching a campaign to save the college.

President of the Board of Trustees John Rizzo believes the actions could help. "I don't know if pressure is the right word. They don't see themselves as being pressured, but I think people can be influenced by what the community thinks," he said.

Now, to add to the uncertainty surrounding accreditation, the school and its faculty are in the middle of labor negotiations which teachers say broke off Thursday night with no agreement.


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